Dallas Empire’s ‘Huke’ goes through big plays, mistakes in team scrimmage
“On another team, it’s normal to have arguments left and right.”
Those are the words of the most successful Call of Duty gamer in esports history. Ian “Crimsix” Porter is still intrigued by how well his Dallas Empire team get along, especially when it comes to making adjustments to their own gameplay.
The defending World Champion of the Call of Duty League had to make changes before the start of the CDL’s second season, along with the eleven other teams. In a new 4v4 format, the team’s former shot caller James “Clayster” Eubanks left for the New York Subliners.
Now it is Cuyler “Huke” Garland’s job to act as the main voice in the Empire’s communications structure. The Dallas Morning News called Huke to watch a couple of games from an Empire battle against the Seattle Surge.
The 21-year-old has broken down some of the Empire’s games on two different Hardpoint maps, showing why Dallas is poised for another strong season.
Here are some clips from that recording and Huke’s own analysis of each piece.
Huke and I saw these cards from the perspective of Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro through his Twitch recordings. The 19-year-old CDL MVP is the Empire’s disruptor on the map, devastating the enemy’s spawns and running rampant to give room to his teammates.
He made a big game at the start of this Garrison Hardpoint rep. Here is the clip:
Just because Shotzzy made the game run straight to the center of the map this time around doesn’t mean it’ll work every time. After Shotzzy scored two eliminations while staying alive, Seattle battled for all of the rest of the card.
“If you don’t do it in scrims a lot and nobody expects you to do it, then you do it by accident, it will likely work,” said Huke. “You definitely don’t want that to happen.”
Check the score and minimap after this game. The Empire received part of the first hardpoint and already has rotations for the next hill. Games like this can be devastating in a league game.
This wasn’t the youngster’s only heads-up game at Garrison. Next clip.
Ignore the Empire’s huge head start for a moment and see what Shotzzy does in the first few seconds of the video. He’s got the hard point right next to him and could easily get a few seconds.
Instead, he runs into the brick room and lies down. Had he got up the hill it would have given his position away, and there were no Empire players to support him at the time.
Shotzzy is eliminated and delays the rotation of the surge to the next hill. One small moment made a big difference.
In this next clip he does a similar piece where he could have been fighting on the current hill for the remaining 10 seconds. Instead, he turned to the nearest hill. This is what Huke focused on as a shot caller to ensure that teammates make the right position decisions.
The empire doesn’t have much resistance to such decisions, Crimsix explained in a telephone interview.
Dealing with mistakes
It’s not always daisies for the Empire. You are not invincible. Huke explained a mistake his team made on the next map where the Empire made poor positioning decisions for Raid and lost their good spawns.
Dallas escaped with only a small deficit, but the same mistake in a league game against an Atlanta FaZe or OpTic Chicago would be costly.
Crimsix’s contribution with map knowledge about raid was crucial. He was playing for the best team in the world when the map first debuted in Black Ops 2, so he had to provide guidance.
The Empire has no qualms when someone makes suggestions, and that led them to a championship in 2020 and a quality post-season to follow.
“We identify a bug, we tell it once how to fix it, and everyone listens. That’s so important in a game with so many micro-customizations, ”said Crimsix. “It is (expletively) huge to be able to identify and correct a mistake straight away. You can improve overall as a team in scrims so much faster than anyone if you can. “
Speaking of mistakes, this final clip is what happens when communication isn’t optimal.
Shotzzy defeats Sam “Octane” Larew after a good use of Crimsix and then wipes Seattle down without anyone shooting at him.
The three-point attempts were probably on display, but Huke had a description for this type of mistake.
“What Shotzzy just did,” said Huke, “should never happen to your team.”